Archive for June, 2003

I feel a great sense of accomplishment

I feel a great sense of accomplishment
I finally finished my Corporate Income Taxes.  They are bit late, but I’m getting a refund.  The government shouldn’t be to worried that I lent them some money for a couple of months.  Everything took an amazing turn for the better when I realized that I could use a function in my accounting software to create a file that would work with my Corporate tax software.  That solved my final problems.  I’m glad I didn’t go that route in the beginning.  In the quest for reconciliation I learned that I set things up wrong and how I need to go back and reverse some transactions.  Not only is everything done, but I’m more than reasonably sure everything is done in an acceptable manner.  I still think I want to use an accountant next time. 

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Worship.Freehouse Part III

Worship.Freehouse Part III
The freehoue went well.  There were a lot more people than I expected.  It’s the Canada Day weekend and it is very common for people to go to “the lake”.  Camping is a big thing for many Canadians and our summer’s never seem to last long enough. Who wants to be in the city on a nice weekend?  The crowd at the freehouse seems to change each time.  There was nice intergenerational blend last night.

I had a bigger role than I’ve had in the last two.  Jordon is in Ottawa and John wasn’t able to come so I was the host.  I don’t mind being in front of a crowd but I’m not much for remembering details, so I ended up making a few extra announcements. 

I tried to do something creative.  I wrote this yesterday afternoon and read it last night.

Dear God

I’m sitting in a church
I’m talking with my friends
I’m wondering where you are right now

Theres nothing but the same
No change in my heart
No rest for my soul for now

Isn’t anyone trying to find you
Are we all going through the motions?

I’m so tired of this life
Just trying to get real ,sometimes
Is there something I can do
Something I can say
that would make it easier, somehow

I want to believe
I want to follow, but how
They tell me over here,
they tell me over there,
I don’t think they know at all

Isn’t anyone trying to find you
Does anybody here know the way?

I know that you’re real
And I’ve felt your love
And I want to know it more

Help me let go
The ignorance I hold
My vision is so blurry this night

I want to let go
What I’ve been told
And find you in the truth, somehow

We are so far
From the truth in our lives
Please light up the darkness for us

I also prepared a PowerPoint presentation that followed along with Avril’s “I’m with you”.  Some people really liked it.  I’m not sure how big Avril is outside Canada but she is huge here.  I’ve posted the Lyrics to one of her songs before and I recently bought her CD.  I find that some secular artists are better able to tap in to my heart.

I enjoyed the freehouse but I had to put a lot of preparation in to it.  I really didn’t feel like going to the organizing meeting last wednesday.  I kind forced myself to do it.  Last night got a little crazy when the oil pressure in my car dropped to 0 not long before the freehouse started.  I had to start walking around downtown to find some oil before the gas stations close.  My car survived and once I got some oil in to it she returned to normal.  I guess I should check my oil a little more often.

I’ve been busy trying to do too many things at the same time.  It’s a recipe for burn out so I need to reconsider all my involvements.  I’ve been through this before and it wasn’t pretty.

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Riders won

Riders won
In Saskatchewan we are often mocked for our allegience to our lone professional sports team.  I have to travel about 250 km to Regina to watch my favourite CFL football team.  On the way back I took pics..  Hosehead (Jeremy) is a BC fan, not a Saskatchewan fan.  Unfortunately his team lost 32-30.  Riders are now 2-0 tied with the dreaded Winnipeg Blue Bombers.  Like all deluded Rider fans we are already thinking Grey Cup.

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First Nations Website Idea

First Nations Website Idea
Last night I was chatting with Linsay about First Nations issues.  Through different journeys we have arrived at similar conclusions about the importance of plight of the First Nations in our society.  The hard question for us was what can we do about it.  We want to be part of the solution without falling in to paternalistic patterns.  We came up with a website idea.  A website that would target non-aboriginals (although I’m sure would serve all peoples) to provide some education and challange on the important issues.  It could also serve as source of news and information that would provide some balance against the current media bias.

My perspective changed greatly once I read a few books and listened to some people.  I believe that if others were exposed to the same evidence that I was their perspective would change as well.

What could this website do?

  • Provide an introduction to the history of the First Nation’s in Canada with articles to explore specific events and issues on a deeper level
  • Misconceptions section addressing commonly held errant beliefs
  • Publish links and articles relating to current important issues
  • Story vault – where people can share about their lives (success stories, examples of racism, residential schools etc…)
  • Provide links other First Nation’s websites and weblogs.
  • A weblog with aboriginal and non-aboriginal contributors
  • Speakers directory – if an organization wanted to hear someone speak to their group they could go here and connect with a conference speaker
  • Plug in to a grassroots peer network that could give perspective on national issues.  A place where people involved in national media stories can tell their version to address any misrepresentations.

Any comments?

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A New Hope

A New Hope
Jeremy and I started brainstorming tonight.  With the brainstorming we let ourselves be idealistic and not necessarily realistic.  It’s ok to have big dreams I think.  So far we have three possible but probably unlikely names for the church.

  • Zion – the place where unplugged copper tops find reality
  • Unplugged – continues along the Matrix theme
  • Trogdor (the Burninator) – just cuz Trogdor is cool

We  both would like to see a strong missional emphasis.  Following Christ means plugging in to kingdom mission.  We would like everyone to be involved in some form of mission or service that is beyond the scope of our little structure.  This might be an overreaction but I’m really tired of churches serving their own needs and ignoring the rest of the world.  My personal ministry will likely involve First Nations’s issues.  Right now my heart is definately geared towards addressing racism and ignorance among non-aboriginals.  I am white so it’s probably best that I stick to dealing with the problems on the non-aboriginal side of the issues. 

We want to be a church that replicates rather than grows big and buys a building.  We’ll probably encourage a lot of blogging and give everyone opportunity to participate according to their giftedness.  I’d like to see everyone lead/organize/facilitate a formal meeting at least once a year.  It doesn’t look like we would end up joining a denomination.  My personal connections with people online and off have provided a level of support, community and accountability that I think many church leaders would envy.

We talked about becoming a non-profit entity that could issue donation receipts.  I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t go that way at the beginning.  I’ve always thought that Jesus’ words about not letting your left hand know what your right hand is doing would apply to letting the government know you did something good so they can reward you with a tax break.  It was easy to follow when I was a full time programmer with a nice salary, not so easy while trying to build a small business.

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MSN Instant Messenger 6 Rules

MSN Instant Messenger 6 Rules
It’s still in Beta, but it is sweet.  Custom emoticons, background images, easy integrated audio, its great!  If I could only convince the Yahoo IM users to finally just give up and let Microsoft take over.  Resistance is futile!  Join the collective!

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Can't we be honest about stuff?

Can’t we be honest about stuff?
I just received an email encouraging me to visit ForNow.com and fill out an online petition demanding the government ‘stay’ the Ontario ruling on gay marriage.  The website has the following text.

An online poll being taken by the National Post has 69% of the public saying “No” to allowing same-sex marriage. This kind of public support for traditional marriage by the average Canadian reveals the radical disconnect between the reigning judicial minds and our representatives in parliament.

We need to act now to urge the government to ‘stay’ the Ontario ruling IMMEDIATELY as they only have until June 30/03 to do so and will be deciding in a day or two! The majority of Canadians believe the traditional marriage is the heart and soul of the family instituted by God and the family is the building block of the nation. We need to resist the sweeping changes that this legislation will bring to our society.

There are serious problems with this.  Online polls are not accurate and cannot properly represent the views of a nation.  Other more accurate polls have indicated that a majority of Canadians are for allowing same-sex marriage.  The other fallacy on this page is “the majority of Canadians believe the traditional marriage is the heart and soul of the family instituted by God and the family is the building block of the nation”.  There is no source cited for this statement and I doubt that question ever turned up on a poll. Even if it did, those that believe traditional marriage is the heart and soul of the family may also believe same-sex couples should enjoy a similar union.

I can’t understand how misrepresenting facts and using deception is going to further the cause of truth this country.  Why publish poll results that only further a political agenda while ignoring the ones that don’t?  This crap shows the radical disconnect between between the right wing social agenda and the truth.

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I think its official

I think its official
A couple of days ago someone asked me what I was doing for church.  A question that usually requires a long answer.  That day I responded with ”a friend and I are planning out a house church”.  I think its time.  I’m not sure what it will look like and I’ve never been part of a house church before.  I plan on journaling my thoughts and activities on this blog. 

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Bowling for Columbine

Bowling for Columbine
This film makes one really good point.  American culture is marked by fear.  Unfortunately Moore could have done a better job of presenting the facts in a more balanced manner.  Moore compares the US to Canada and other western industrialized nations.  In some of his comparisons he uses statistical evidence that overstates the contrast and in others he used anecdotal evidence provided by individual interviews. 

Some of the statements or implications I found frustrating

  • Canada has no less poverty than the US because our unemployment rate is higher.  While it is true that we have higher unemployment, Canada does not have the kind of urban decay that large US cities have.  We have poverty but we also have a stronger social safety net with things like free medical care. 
  • Homocide stats.  Canada has less homocide with guns, but the direct number of people killed stats are misleading because Canada has 1/10 of the population of the US.  The homocide stats were only of those killed by guns and didn’t include homocide by other means.
  • Knowing people with guns.  Moore talked with some Canadians about how many people they knew that owned guns.  There may be 7 million guns for 10 million households but I have seen very few guns in my lifetime.  The only people I know that have firearms are law enforcement, farmers and hunters. The hunters tend to have a number of guns.  Other than the ones police carry, I’ve never seen a handgun.
  • Canadian news media covers speedbumps instead of homocides.  In Saskatoon we never hear of a crime on the “east side” of the city.  The east side is the more affluent and more “white” area of town.  Anything that happens on the “west side” is labeled “west side”, and that is where most of the racial minorities live.  Our media also gets sucked in to misrepresenting crime by racial minorities. 

These corrections aside, I do believe the basic comparison with Canada is true.  Canadians are a more accepting tolerant society with a lot less fear.  Most of us don’t feel the need to lock our doors until we go to sleep.  We are more than willing to help people stranded on roadsides.  We don’t think that more people having more guns makes anyone safer. 

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History of Colonization

History of Colonization
Last night went well.  It’s kind of hard for me to gauge how well as I was one of the presenters and we didn’t have a lot of time for Q and A.  The feedback I received was very good though.  Mark blogged about it.

The subject of native issues is a very deep one and it is impossible to even summarize all the major issues in one evening.  The following is a list of some the historical injustices that the First Nations have endured.

  •  Treaties were negotiated with the best interests of the crown
  • Canada has failed to recognize the nation-to-nation status of the treaty negotiations 
  • Christian missionaries taught First Nation’s people that every aspect of their culture was evil
  • Reserve lands were arbitrarily siezed
  • It has taken over 100 years to resolve land claims issues, many are still outstanding
  • Residential schools were often harsh places where many were abused
  • The entire aboriginal way of life was in flux and many turned to alcohol
  • A cycle of abuse and dependancy was perpetuated
  • The Canadian gov’t has acted paternally assuming Aboriginals are incapable of governing themselves
  • Racism constantly blocks the progress of a marginalized people
  • False social theories about aboriginal people and culture were spread in order to justify mistreatment
  • Many First Nations people have internalized a sense of inferiority and hate their own identity
  • Young people were disconnected from their heritage and family members when they were forced to speak english and barred from speaking their own language
  • Non-aboriginals are often ignorant of the deeper issues and have judged entire people groups based on misinformation spread through the media and word of mouth

I used to believe that the First Nation’s people should respond like any other marginalized group, suck it up and work their way of their problems.  After researching the subject more I realize how difficult this is.  The self perpetuating cycle of racism, abuse and addictions make it very difficult to create real change.

What grieves me the most is that my people have treated another group so poorly for so long that many First Nations people hate their own identity.  I have had personal friends that internalized a sense of inferiority.  It’s usually combined with some form of depression.  I can’t just go to them and say ‘suck it up and get to work’.  That doesn’t work.  In many cases it probably makes things worse.  I can’t imagine living in a community where internalized inferiority, depression, suicide and hopelessness are commonplace. 

I hope to recruit some First Nation’s people in to blogging so they can share their stories.  I think it could be a marvelous step in helping some of us to understand. 

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